Human Executive Officer, USS Vigiliant
Played By: Ben Foster (as seen in ‘Pandorum’)
A native of the rocky, desolate Stavros IV, West was born into the Carwinist fundamentalist sect that had colonized the planet a century earlier. From an early age, West was at odds with his family’s religion, a xenophobic form of Judeo-Christianity which taught that humanity had forsaken God in order to pursue advanced technology and unholy alliances with other races. Branded an apostate, he spent his childhood and teenage years subjected to the harsh physical discipline of the sect’s elders.
West eventually escaped on a freighter when he was fourteen years old; the freighter’s captain took pity on him and allowed him to join the crew. After West spent three years on the ship learning everything he could from the often-dangerous fringe lifestyle of the freighter’s crew, the captain (a Starfleet Academy washout) marooned him on a starbase with one final order: enlist in Starfleet and make something of himself. With nowhere else to go, West saw no reason not to comply.
West had a difficult time in his first years at Starfleet Academy. A good student despite his backward upbringing, West nevertheless had some problems adjusting to the discipline of life in Starfleet after years of relative freedom. His prior life in space caused him to feel some degree of superiority, which most of his classmates misread as arrogance. This “loner” status did not help him in his relationships with his instructors; he faced disciplinary action on several occasions, mostly due to insubordination. West was also known for his illicit interpersonal entanglements, both with his female classmates and, on one occasion, an instructor. It wasn’t until he formed real friendships with other Academy cadets that West began to feel like a part of something bigger than himself. He maintained a spotless record during his final two years – by all accounts a model student.
The Yuma Incident
West was cadet first officer on the USS Yuma during a routine training cruise during his final year at the Academy. On its return trip, the Yuma was asked to investigate a distress call. The call turned out to be a trap set by Nausicaan pirates. The Yuma was set upon by a group of pirate vessels and was disabled.
The crew were separated and taken to different Nausicaan vessels, presumably to be sold as slaves. West’s group was comprised solely of cadets – most of whom were paralyzed with fear and despair. According to eyewitness accounts, West managed to keep his fellow cadets from being mistreated by the Nausicaans by taunting and challenging their captors. The pirates would then focus their ire (and their violence) upon West. After several days of captivity, the cadets – reportedly inspired by West’s continued refusal to back down from the Nausicaans – staged a daring escape. While West lay broken and bleeding in a cell, they confiscated weapons and fought their way to the bridge of the pirate vessel, eventually taking it over and steering it toward the nearest starbase. West spent several weeks recovering from his injuries, after which he and several of his fellow cadets received Starfleet commendations for their actions. He graduated with honors from Starfleet Academy in 2376. His first assignment was as helmsman on the New Orleans-class USS Abercrombie under Captain Lindsey Taggart.